Architecture

Land Grid Array Vs Pin Grid Array, Land Grid Array

Both LGA and PGA are basically types of surface mount technologies (SMT) that define how the processor will mount on the motherboard.

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LGA stands for Land Grid Array and PGA stands for Pin Grid Array. LGA based CPUs have flat surface contacts where as the PGA CPUs have pins for interfacing with the motherboard. 

Different manufacturers use different techniques and there are pros and cons to both techniques.

In the current market, Intel primarily uses the LGA technology whereas the AMD uses the PGA technology for their processors.

The type of surface mounting a CPU uses also affects how the CPU socket is designed on the motherboard as well. In the following text we further compare LGA vs PGA.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

LGA vs PGA Physical Differences in Brief

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PGA CPUs are primarily used by AMDThe PGA socket type is the direct opposite of the LGA socket. Pin Grid array sockets do not have pins on the motherboard itself. Instead, the pins are located on the bottom of the CPU itself.

The pins are made as sturdy as possible but they can still incur damages when the chip is mishandled so one of the few things you need to do as a precaution is to avoid installing this CPU into the wrong sockets. Some damage to the pins can be irreversible.

Once the pins are fitted into the appropriate holes, it is possible to secure the chip with a lever to ensure that it is firmly placed.

PGA socket types are commonly used by AMD, such as the popular AM4 socket for their Athlon and Ryzen series processors, although as mentioned earlier, some of their newer entries such as the Threadripper series CPUs may use an LGA socket.

Installing a PGA socket is quite easy as the CPU can drop into place without the need of a lot of force. For this reason, PGA sockets can be referred to as the Zero Insertion Force (ZIF) sockets.

Double Edged Sword – Be Careful with the Pins

While PGA based CPU are very easy to install on to the motherboard, handling them can become an issue.

Putting pressure on a misaligned CPU or bending the pins on the CPU can result in irreversible damage.

AMD processors are often told off for using PGA as their primary topology since they are prone to accidents.

Similarly, Intel motherboards are also told off due to their fragile pins on the motherboard. Once damaged, the pins on an LGA motherboard are almost impossible to fix.

Also Read: How to tell if CPU is Bad or Dead?

Advantages of LGA CPUs

Because the pins are on the motherboard instead of the CPU, you have a little more leeway when handling the CPU because there’s no fear of damaging any pins.

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Hence the CPU is more durable here.

Disadvantage of LGA CPUs

One of the major disadvantage of LGA is with installing the CPU. You have to make sure that CPU is properly aligned before you lock the CPU in with the lever.

Applying the pressure with the locking lever on a CPU that is not aligned to the last 1mm can damage the pins on the motherboard socket.

Advantages of PGA CPUs

With pins on the CPU, fitting this chip into a socket can be as easy as aligning the pins with their corresponding holes on the motherboard socket. The CPU just slides in by itself without any pressure applied.

Also, here the motherboard is more durable since it does not have any pins that can be bent or damaged.

Disadvantage of PGA CPUs

The biggest disadvantage with PGA is the that a damaged pin on CPU can effectively render it useless.

You have to very careful in handling a PGA CPU.

Breaking CPU Pins can be FAR MORE EXPENSIVE Than Breaking Motherboard Pins

In my personal opinion, LGA based CPUs are superior to PGA.

A damage to pins on a CPU can be more expensive than damage to the pins on a motherboard.

A CPUs is often twice, if not multiple times, as expensive as the motherboard. I would rather have less durable motherboard than a less durable CPU. 

Summary

Here is a quick definition you can take note off:

LGA

Land Grid ArrayMore durable CPUPins found on the MotherboardProcess has metal padsEasier to dismount CPUWidely used by Intel

PGA

Pin Grid ArrayMore durable motherboardPins found on the processorsMotherboard has a socket with tiny holes in themEasier to mount CPUWidely used by AMD

Also Read: Is a Dual Core Processor Good for Gaming?

Conclusion

Here we reviewed the key differences between LGA vs PGA sockets. Like two opposite sides of a coin, LGA, and PGA sockets couldn’t be more different in their physical form and characteristics.

Nevertheless, they play the same role on a motherboard. They provide the CPU with a cradle and the necessary contact points for it to effectively communicate with every other device on a motherboard.

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With each having its advantage over the other, the choice comes down to a matter of preference by the manufacturer. Albeit, it is my personal opinion that LGA is superior in terms of mitigating risks.

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